CHALONER, Robert (1776-1842), of Guisborough Hall, Yorks.

Published in The History of Parliament: the House of Commons 1820-1832, ed. D.R. Fisher, 2009
Available from Cambridge University Press

Constituency

Dates

16 Feb. 1810 - 1818
28 June 1820 - 1826

Family and Education

b. 23 Sept. 1776, 3rd s. of William Chaloner (d. 1793) of Guisborough and Emma, da. of William Harvey† of Chigwell, Essex. educ. Harrow 1785. m. 24 Jan. 1805, Hon. Frances Laura Dundas, da. of Thomas Dundas†, 1st Bar. Dundas, 3s. (1 d.v.p.) 3da. (1 d.v.p.). suc. e. bro. Thomas 1796. d. 7 Oct. 1842.

Offices Held

Ld. mayor, York 1817.

Cornet, N.W. Riding yeomanry, capt. 1798; maj. Cleveland vols. 1803; N. Riding militia 1808.

Biography

Chaloner was a partner in the prosperous York banking house of Wentworth, Chaloner and Rishworth and an alderman and former mayor of that city. He had sat for Richmond on his father-in-law Lord Dundas’s interest from 1810 to 1818. In 1820 he declined a suggestion that he should offer for York in conjunction with his brother-in-law Lawrence Dundas, who had the support of their kinsman Lord Fitzwilliam and of the corporation, but he acted as chairman of the Whig committee and on the hustings sponsored the party’s second candidate, Marmaduke Wyvill*. Three months later, following Lawrence Dundas’s succession to the peerage, he was returned unopposed for the city, after declaring his support for Catholic relief and a ‘practical reform’ of Parliament.1

He was a regular attender who voted, as in the past, with the opposition to Lord Liverpool’s ministry on all major issues, including parliamentary reform, 9, 31 May 1821, 20 Feb., 25 Apr. 1822, 20 Feb., 24 Apr., 2 June 1823. He divided for Catholic relief, 1 Mar., 10 May 1825. In December 1820 he cautioned Fitzwilliam against the plan to convene a county meeting in Yorkshire, which he feared would bring out Whig ‘disunion’ over reform.2 He presented a York corporation petition for the restoration of Queen Caroline’s name to the liturgy, 31 Jan. 1821.3 Early in 1822 he wrote to Fitzwilliam’s son Lord Milton*, with whom he disagreed on the subject of agricultural protection, observing that

you are ... a Cobbettite, not morally possibly, but touching the question of political economy. All the distress arises from a mere money question, or rather the alteration in the value of money. I will vote against any corn bill, it is a frantic and unjust measure, a mere nibbling at a part of the effect without touching the cause. Somehow or other, sooner or later, fairly or foully, the interest of the debt and expense of the establishments must be lowered, and enormously too ... the sooner the fairer and with the least disturbance. It may be put off so late that much of the good effect as to peaceableness at least, may be lost. Oh Pitt, Pitt, what a curse hast thou been to us! I know not where my improvement in radicalism will stop, it is a plant of powerful growth with me just now. I dare not write all I think.4

On 13 May he defended Wyvill’s motion of five days earlier for substantial tax reductions to relieve agricultural distress. He condemned the ‘direct and gross injury’ which the Yorkshire polls bill would ‘inflict on the exercise of the electoral franchise’, 7 June 1822, and noted the ‘remarkable circumstance’ that ‘those who advocated the measure had no connection with the county’; he successfully moved for the bill’s rejection. He criticized a petition from Northallerton magistrates against a clause in the gaols bill, 24 May 1824, claiming that their object was to have the power of inflicting the ‘punishment of the treadmill’ on prisoners before trial.5

Chaloner’s bank failed during the financial crisis of 1825-6 and he retired from Parliament at the subsequent dissolution.6 Fitzwilliam bailed him out, securing his Yorkshire property and appointing him steward of his Irish estates. He died in October